The latest good news about clean energy in Ohio is that the state ranks #8 in the nation for solar jobs. But despite this, 2014 has not ushered in a new era of civility or honest debate about the merits of Ohio’s clean energy standards that require a percentage of Ohio’s electricity demand be met with renewable energy and energy efficiency. Instead, Bill Seitz, chair of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, started off the 2014 legislative session right where he left of last year: with misguided efforts to roll back Ohio’s successful clean energy policies. Read More
February 19th, 2014
February 3rd, 2014
In last week’s State of the Union (SOTU) address, President Obama reiterated his support for climate science by unequivocally stating “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” He also should be commended for highlighting the urgency of the problem as local communities are already experiencing damaging and costly climate impacts like drought, wildfires, heat waves, and coastal flooding.
But the President’s enthusiasm for increasing natural gas production and use as an important climate solution missed the mark. And like his climate action plan speech at Georgetown University last June, the President highlighted the economic benefits of increasing U.S. natural gas production, while failing to mention the economic risks of an overreliance on natural gas. Read More
December 18th, 2013
Clean energy supporters in Ohio marked an important victory this month when Senate Bill 58 (SB58) — which would have gutted Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and handed utilities potentially billions of dollars in undeserved profits — failed to come up for a vote in the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee. But clean energy opponents in Ohio are already planning their next rounds of misguided attacks. Read More
November 7th, 2013
The latest ranking of states’ energy efficiency policies and programs is out, and many of the results are what you’d expect. (Hint: the Red Sox aren’t the only winners in this neck of the woods.) But there are some surprising results worth checking out—including shout-outs for Mississippi, Illinois, and others. Read More
October 11th, 2013
Members of the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee heard testimony this week on two bills that would roll back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. Backed by fossil-fuel funded special interest groups and their political allies, these proposals would undermine Ohio’s emerging clean energy industries and make the state even more dependent on coal and natural gas. Read More
September 23rd, 2013
Life in New England is also good for fans of clean energy and a stronger, cleaner energy future, which should include just about anyone with lungs or a wallet. Just-announced plans for more local renewable energy, and a new report on best cities for energy efficiency, show the important progress New England is making in some key areas for our economy and our environment. Read More
September 18th, 2013
The President’s Climate Plan announced in June touts natural gas as an important climate solution, as I discussed in a recent blog. This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the first step in implementing one of the key components of his plan by re-issuing carbon standards for new power plants. The next and more important step in this process is for the EPA to issue draft carbon standards for existing power plants by June 2014. (For more details, see this blog by my colleague Rachel Cleetus).
While standards for existing plants will help reduce power sector carbon emissions, they could lead to an overreliance on natural gas if they are not designed in the right way. In addition, the U.S. will need to make much deeper cuts in emissions to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change, as I discussed in my blog in July. A new UCS report released today shows that a transition from a coal- to a natural gas-dominated electricity system would not be sufficient to meet U.S. climate goals. Instead, a diversified electricity system—with amplified roles for renewable energy and energy efficiency and a modest role for natural gas—would both limit the threat of climate change and mitigate the risks of an overdependence on natural gas. Read More
September 17th, 2013
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a mantra often used by investors who diversify their portfolios to protect against volatility in financial markets. It’s also appropriate for the electricity sector in Ohio, a state that has historically been overdependent on coal and is fast becoming over reliant on both coal and natural gas, leaving consumers vulnerable to volatility in energy markets and many other risks. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can help diversify Ohio’s power mix, and bring safe, clean, reliable, and affordable power to consumers, according to a new UCS report. Why then is the central policy that is successfully supporting these clean energy industries in Ohio under attack? Read More
August 12th, 2013
Electricity grid operators knew hours before the 4 p.m., August 14, 2003 Northeast power failure that things were going badly. One called his wife, predicting accurately that he would have to work late, and another complained it was “not a good day in the neighborhood.”
The largest blackout in North America left 50 million people without power and largely without communications, but some engineers knew that the blackout could have been prevented. Part two of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More
August 8th, 2013
A trip I just made to the Southeast included my first visit to Birmingham in decades, and glimpses of changes the intervening years had brought. New houses in my grandmother’s old neighborhood. Food that’s just as tasty as it used to be, but a whole lot more varied. And an energy scene that is changing, but not nearly as much as it should.
Our tour through Georgia and Alabama was aimed at talking with a range of audiences and experts about our new Water-Smart Power report. And when it comes to water-smart, there are plenty of reasons for the region to get on a different path, and lots of other reasons to celebrate where they’re headed. Read More